Beachbody is proud to introduce the newest member of our executive team: Dr. Luigi Gratton.
An M.D. and M.P.H. who has studied health and nutrition from all facets, this Los Angeles-native took some time out of his busy schedule to share with us where he went to medical school, why he came to Beachbody, and why Chocolate Vegan Shakeology is his favorite flavor.
What is your new position at Beachbody?
Luigi Gratton: I am the new Group Vice President of Nutritionals. Our team is responsible for all the nutritional products that Beachbody offers, such as Shakeology and the Shakeology Boosts (Power Greens, Digestive Health, Focused Energy), Daily Sunshine, and the Beachbody Performance line (Energize, Hydrate, Recover, Recharge, and Creatine). I am very excited to lead the team and re-emphasize why nutrition is such an essential part of Beachbody.
What is your background?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I’ve been interested in nutrition ever since high school, specifically how it enhances other things in life, such as nutrition and sports, nutrition and performance, or nutrition and weight loss. So I completed a master’s degree in public health at UCLA before going to medical school at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. After med school, I returned to LA and did a residency in family medicine through the LA County Hospital System. Then I completed a one-year training at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine in clinical nutrition. I then worked at Herbalife for 13 years before coming to Beachbody. Having both an M.D. in family medicine and specialized training in nutrition, I’m dedicated to making families healthier and happier.
Why did you come to Beachbody?
About five years ago, I got really interested in sustainability. I noticed that there was a significant trend toward eating clean, eating sustainably, and eating plant-based foods that are not genetically modified or do not have pesticides or herbicides.
I’m not very hardcore with my diet, I’m very much a moderate, but I started realizing that eating sustainably is the way to go for the planet in the long term. We currently have seven billion people, and we’re going to be at nine-and-a-half billion in about 20 or 30 years. It’s going to be very crowded and food is going to be limited, especially protein. The sustainability of food has become a passion of mine. In 2017, I completed a certificate of sustainability through UCLA and I started looking at companies that were creating sustainable nutrition, and that’s when I found Beachbody.
When I learned about the way ingredients were sourced for Shakeology, I started keeping watch for job opportunities at Beachbody. I came to Beachbody because we have a shared commitment to nutrition. It takes a lot of extra work to make a product like Shakeology, so it’s really something to be proud of.
What is your nutritional philosophy?
A nutritional philosophy is a consistent message that weaves through all the nutrition products at Beachbody. So, it’s very important for me to make this clear. Basically, my nutrition philosophy is to be sure you get the macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) and the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and trace elements) your body needs to function properly.
Here at Beachbody, we believe in helping people get the right amount of high-quality protein their bodies need. We have a focus on protein since we also offer workout programs and protein replenishes your muscles after a workout. Also, your muscle mass determines metabolism, which is important for weight loss — another big part of Beachbody. This is Beachbody’s nutritional philosophy. Another company, Dean Ornish for example, may recommend a lower amount of protein than we do, since he believes in a plant-based diet. He may think that we promote a high-protein diet, but we don’t. We promote a diet with the right amount of high-quality protein that supports the individual needs of people that use our products.
This is how this message can play out in your everyday life. Let’s say you have a latte and a scone every morning for breakfast. (I love scones, by the way). Well, this breakfast has about two grams of protein and if you’re an active woman who does yoga every day, your muscles need high-quality protein, and you’re not getting that with a latte and scone, and you will probably be deficient. So, it’s convenient that a serving of Shakeology can provide an extra 17 grams of high-quality protein to help keep you on track.
What do you think of Shakeology?
Shakeology is the best shake on the market, hands down, for a number of reasons. First, the ingredients are such high quality, they are best in class. What really sets Shakeology apart from other shakes is that it not only includes the first two levels of nutrition (macronutrients and micronutrients), it also includes a third level of nutrition called phytonutrients. These are nutrients that come from plants that offer specific benefits to the body, i.e. ‘superfoods.’ For example, tomatoes have lycopene and lycopene for whatever reason tends to concentrate in breast tissue in women and prostate tissue in men to promote healthy cells. We have no idea why, it’s just that mother nature decided that the tomato is going to be really good for those particular tissues.
Secondly, it’s important to know how these quality ingredients are sourced. We’ve worked directly with the farmers and supplier to improve the quality and sustainability of our crops, that is something I can take a stand for. The nutritional heads of our company go down to Peru and make sure that there’s an ethical treatment of the supply chain.
The third reason I love Shakeology, and all our nutritional products, is that they don’t just sit on retail shelves at the supermarkets — you have a Team Beachbody Coach that can get the product to you, explain the benefits, and help you to incorporate the healthy habit of a daily shake into your life. You could have the most amazing product on the planet, but if no one explains it to you, it will just sit there on the shelf. Therefore, the Coach is one of the most important parts of these nutrition products.
Why do you think Shakeology should be consumed every day?
We all know that improving your health involves three things: exercising more, eating less junk food, and eating healthier, such as drinking Shakeology. And, the third is the easiest of the three, especially since Shakeology tastes so good. Shakeology can also serve as your nutritional foundation. If you start your day with Shakeology, you’re setting yourself up to have a day of healthy choices, and it provides the protein and carbohydrates you need to fuel your workout for the day.
The truth is, everyone is busy and we are constantly eating on the go, so it’s hard to be healthy. I get it. But, Shakeology is so convenient and so packed with nutrition, that it can serve as your ‘nutritional safety net.’ Even if you’re grabbing a slice of pizza here, or a hot dog there, if you’ve had your Shakeology that day, you’ve already given your body much of the protein and phytonutrients it needs. And these concerns of ‘everyone being busy’ and ‘not having enough healthy food easily available’ are not just problems we are having here in the United States. I’ve traveled around the world, and these problems with nutrition are a global concern. We need to make more products like Shakeology that are both healthy and convenient.
What is your favorite flavor of Shakeology and why?
My wife and I drink either Chocolate Vegan or Vanilla Vegan Shakeology, every day. We aren’t vegans, but we typically only eat animal products on the weekends for sustainability reasons. Sometimes I have a second chocolate shake in the afternoon to curb my chocolate sweet-tooth. I love it! My four-year-old daughter also loves chocolate Daily Sunshine and blending our shakes as a family (with just water and a banana) has become a fun part of our morning routine.